Filipinos want voice heard by B.C. NDP government

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  • As the Philippine Asian News Today (PNT) went to press Wednesday (November 24), the community has received no word about a matter regarding their wish to be represented in the new B.C. NDP government of Premier John Horgan.

    The community has released two public calls urging Horgan to name Mable Elmore to his Cabinet.

    Elmore is the first and only Filipino-Canadian who is a member of the legislative assembly (MLA). She represents Vancouver-Kensington.

    In the last provincial election on October 24, 2020, Elmore won a fourth term as MLA.

    Filipinos signed as individuals in a petition to Horgan that made three calls, one of which is for Elmore’s appointment to Cabinet.

    “Our community needs Ms. Elmore to have a seat at Cabinet,” the letter stated.

    “In this way, Cabinet can better reflect the many diverse voices of BC’s ethnic groups – the largest of which are the Chinese, South Asian and Filipino Groups. By appointing Ms. Elmore, your cabinet will benefit from her direct connections to the community that feels ignored by successive BC governments,” the petition continued.

    The petition also called for the implementation of Filipino language classes in public schools.

    The third call is for funding to create a Filipino community centre.

    “For our community, this maybe the watershed moment where big strides towards our full participation in BC society ca be taken by; Appointing Ms. Elmore to Cabinet; Providing funding towards a Filipino Community Center; and introducing the Filipino language as a subject in public schools,” the petition stated.

    The petition was followed by an open letter to Horgan that was signed by Filipino community organizations.

    When the B.C. NDP first formed government in 2017, many members of the community were disappointed when Elmore did not get a seat at the cabinet table.

    The frustration was kept mostly within the community.

    Based on an account that is quite well known in a number of circles, a member personally complained to an influential figure in Horgan’s government.

    The person’s concern was dismissed, and reportedly told to this effect: “Your community will get over it.”

    Horgan and the B.C. NDP won a majority mandate in the October 24, 2020 election.

    In the open letter, the community told Horgan that “now is the time to recognize the importance of the Filipino community by appointing Ms. Elmore to a leadership position”.

    “For your Cabinet to genuinely reflect the diversity of the people it serves it needs to include Ms. Elmore,” the letter stated.

    Moreover, “Your party has the unique opportunity to elevate the Filipino community and we hope you will consider doing so by inviting Ms. Elmore to your Cabinet.”

    The letter acknowledged that Cabinet members are appointees that serve at the pleasure of the Premier.

    However, the letter also indicated that failure to appoint Elmore would disappoint the community.

    “Anything less amounts to the continued marginalization of our community and is an affront to the dedication and service of Filipinos to BC over the years,” the letter noted.

    “Your party has the unique opportunity to elevate the Filipino community and we hope you will consider doing so by inviting Ms. Elmore to your Cabinet,” the letter stated.

    The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in Thursday (November 26) as PNT copies hit streets of Greater Vancouver.

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